Gravel & Shea PC

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Attorney Zachary Dayno Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Zachary Dayno to the litigation team.

“I am honored and excited to join Gravel & Shea, one of the preeminent law firms in New England,” says Zach.  “Gravel & Shea has a dedicated team of exceptional lawyers and staff, and I am looking forward to working with them to represent our clients.”

Zach joins Gravel & Shea after completing two judicial clerkships — for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Zach graduated summa cum laude from Vermont Law School, where he was a Staff Editor of the Vermont Law Review.

“We’re thrilled to have Zach on our team,” says Gravel & Shea Shareholder Navah Spero.  “He’s intelligent and diligent, and the experience he gained clerking for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Maine Supreme Court will be a significant asset for our clients.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC October 12, 2021

Attorney Zachary Berger Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Zachary Berger to the transactional team.

“I am thrilled to be joining Gravel & Shea — the depth of expertise here is impressive,” says Zach. “I value the collegiality of the team and their dedication to providing outstanding client services. I’m grateful for the opportunity to practice with attorneys of this caliber and in the wonderful state of Vermont.”

Zach graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2021 with a J.D. and a Masters of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL). While there, he was a member of the Vermont Law School Energy Clinic, had externships with Green Lantern Solar and the Office of the Vermont Attorney General, and served as research assistant with the Institute for Energy and the Environment.

“Zach brings added depth to our energy, telecom and utilities group,” says Gravel & Shea Shareholder Michelle Farkas. “We’re energized by Zach’s passion for renewable energy projects, and we know our clients will be as well.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC October 12, 2021

Gravel & Shea Shareholder Bob Hemley Celebrates 45 Years with the Firm

When Bob Hemley joined Gravel & Shea 45 years ago, he took over the practice of the firm’s sole litigator, who was leaving to become a law professor. Then Gravel Shea & Wright, the firm primarily handled commercial transactions.

Hemley was coming from three and a half years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, so he had significant criminal trial experience. Civil litigation was a different matter. “In those days I didn’t have anything independently coming to me,” he says. “I just did all of the litigation that was generated by the other lawyers at the firm.”

As Hemley gathered more experience, he began to create a name for himself.  “I tried lots of cases in Vermont,” he says. “And I had the opportunity to become pretty quickly well-established — sort of a big fish in a small pond. It took me about five years to develop a reputation that resulted in cases coming directly to me from referrals from other lawyers.”

Hemley was a hard worker and committed to success, but he had another big advantage: resources. “There were no limitations placed on me in terms of what I could do to get a case ready,” says Hemley, and it’s something he’s grateful for. “I had unconditional financial support from my partners, who without hesitation invested in what I am sure at times looked like Quixotic adventures.”

Their support was well placed. Hemley’s track record spoke for itself. “I’m pleased to have been able to help so many people, especially in cases that were regarded by my adversaries as ‘unwinnable,’” he says. In Browning-Ferris Indus. of Vermont, Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, Inc., he turned a “loser” antitrust case into what was then the largest jury verdict in the history of Vermont. In Strack, v Krag, a medical malpractice case that many thought couldn’t be won, he achieved a verdict over $1 million — in 1980. In Kenney v Thomas Electric, he was able to prove that a spark jumped 30 feet from a hanging light fixture, over a knee wall in a living room to cause a fatal fire.  The defense theory was that the fire started because an electric cord was crimped by a sofa placed at what was the indisputable origin of the fire.

Though Hemley built a reputation as one of the best plaintiff’s attorneys in Vermont, that wasn’t his only focus. “I’ve been fortunate to have helped many who were unjustly accused, including individuals, banks, and Fortune 500 companies,” he says. Along with others at Gravel & Shea, he has participated on teams that have succeeded in challenging the Constitutionality of state laws. Plus, he says, “I have been very fortunate to have represented most of the Vermont media on First Amendment matters.” In fact, he was awarded the Matthew Lyon Award by the Vermont Press Association for lifetime achievement in First Amendment work.

Plus, he had the opportunity to learn from great attorneys. “Stewart McConaughy was probably the smartest and best lawyer I’ve ever been exposed to,” says Hemley. Charlie Shea taught him what it looks like to be endlessly dedicated to your clients. Clark Gravel showed him that there’s more to legal practice than spending hours with your nose in a legal text. “He could get more done by picking up the phone than you could spending a week in the library,” says Hemley. “He was extraordinary.”

Over four decades later, it’s a word that many would use to describe Hemley. “It’s been my experience that you can have really great trial lawyers who are good appellate lawyers. You can have great appellate lawyers who are okay trial lawyers. But you seldom meet someone who excels as both a trial lawyer and an appellate lawyer,” says Bob O’Neill, a Gravel & Shea partner who retired from the firm several years ago.  “And that is, without a doubt, Bob Hemley.”

O’Neill’s first experience with Hemley was as adversaries in a hotly contested mail fraud case. O’Neill was working as a federal prosecutor. “We walked away with great respect for each other’s trial abilities and a fondness for each other that never died,” O’Neill says. On Hemley’s suggestion, he joined Gravel & Shea a few years later.

Hemley is quick to point out that his success isn’t the result of some innate talent. “I think I succeeded because I worked hard, not because I’m smarter than anyone else but because I worked harder than anyone else,” says Hemley.

“He is always the most prepared person in the room, no matter what,” says Navah Spero, a litigation partner at the firm. “He has all the trial attorney skills — he can read the courtroom, he’s quick on his feet, he’s incredibly smart. But he’s also more prepared than everyone. He’s one of the most diligent, hard working people I’ve ever worked with.”

Paralegal Liz Mench has worked with Hemley for 35 years, since she joined the firm in 1986. Working with him on countless medical malpractice cases has taught her to be a more assertive advocate for the firm’s clients. “I wouldn’t just accept it now if a witness tells me something or I get a report that doesn’t make sense. He really taught me to pursue information until you get to the bottom of it.”

After 45 years, Hemley is still one of the best trial attorneys in the state. And the one-person litigation department he started in is now nine lawyers strong. While Hemley has been enjoying a little extra leisure time outside the office— reading, playing golf, and hiking (Snake Mountain in Addison County is his current favorite), thankfully for Vermont, he’s not planning to put away his legal pad yet.

Gravel & Shea PC September 14, 2021

2 Gravel & Shea Lawyers Named 2022 Lawyer of the Year in Best Lawyers in America; 9 Lawyers Recognized

Gravel & Shea is pleased to congratulate Gravel & Shea partners Peter S. Erly and Timothy M. Eustace on their recognition as Burlington Lawyers of the Year in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Each year, Best Lawyers names one attorney per practice area in a given region Lawyer of the Year. That lawyer received the highest overall peer-reviewed feedback.

Peter Erly is the 2022 Burlington Lawyer of the Year for Mergers & Acquisitions Law.

Tim Eustace is the 2022 Burlington Lawyer of the Year for Litigation — Real Estate.

Based on nominations and an extensive peer review process, Best Lawyers creates an annual guide of extraordinary lawyers across the country.

We would also like to congratulate the following lawyers named to the 2022 The Best Lawyers in America list:

  • Peter S. Erly — Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Securities/Capital Markets Law, and Securities Regulation
  • Timothy M. Eustace — Litigation – Real Estate
  • Michelle N. Farkas — Real Estate Law
  • Heather R. Hammond — Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Robert B. Hemley — Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, First Amendment Law, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • William A. Mason IV — Corporate Governance Law and Corporate Law
  • Jerome F. O’Neill — Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Robert H. Rushford — Real Estate Law

Best Lawyers also recognizes lawyers who are earlier in their careers in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.

Gravel & Shea congratulates Celeste E. Laramie for her inclusion as One to Watch for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC September 14, 2021

Litigation Attorney Daniel Martin Elected Shareholder

Gravel & Shea recently elected Associate Daniel Martin to Shareholder. Dan joined the firm in 2016.

“I am honored to be a Gravel & Shea shareholder,” said Dan. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our exceptionally talented attorneys and staff over the past five years. I look forward to many more years working with this group to provide innovative solutions for our clients and upholding Gravel & Shea’s high standards of quality and collaboration.”

Dan’s practice focuses on all aspects of litigation in state and federal court. Dan graduated from The George Washington University Law School in 2010, where he was Articles Editor of The George Washington Law Review. Prior to joining Gravel & Shea, he practiced in the securities litigation and corporate governance group of Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York City.

Since joining Gravel & Shea, Dan has been listed as a “Rising Star” in New England Super Lawyers.

“As someone who has worked closely with Dan since his arrival at Gravel & Shea, I am extremely pleased that he will be joining us as a partner,” said Gravel & Shea Shareholder Bob Hemley. Dan has been an invaluable contributor to our most complex commercial litigation, managing highly complicated securities, antitrust, and fraud matters through to successful completion. He is a tireless worker, extremely thorough in his research and writing, and has won the enthusiastic approval of our clients, co-counsel, and adversaries. He will be a very important member of our litigation team going forward.”

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC June 28, 2021

Gravel & Shea Recognized in Chambers and Partners USA and High Net Worth Guides

Gravel & Shea is proud to congratulate 10 attorneys recognized in Chambers & Partners USA Guide 2021 and Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide 2021.

Chambers and Partners is an independent research company that ranks lawyers and law firms across 200 jurisdictions nationwide. Their rankings are based on technical legal ability, client service, depth of team, commercial vision and business understanding, diligence, and value for money.

Chambers and Partners guides recognize both departments or practice areas as a whole and individual attorneys.

Gravel & Shea’s Private Wealth Law practice is recognized in Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide 2021. Gravel & Shea’s Corporate/Commercial, Litigation: General Commercial, and Real Estate practices are recognized in Chambers and Partners USA Guide 2021.

10 individual Gravel & Shea attorneys are recognized for legal excellence:

Jeanne C. Blackmore – Private Wealth Law

Matthew B. Byrne – Litigation: General Commercial

Livia K. DeMarchis – Private Wealth Law

Peter S. Erly – Corporate/Commercial

Timothy M. Eustace – Real Estate, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use

Michelle N. Farkas – Real Estate

Heather Rider Hammond – Labor & Employment

Robert B. Hemley – Litigation: General Commercial

William A. Mason, IV – Corporate/Commercial

Robert H. Rushford – Real Estate

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

Gravel & Shea PC June 8, 2021

9 Gravel & Shea Lawyers Recognized in 2021 Best Lawyers in America

Gravel & Shea is pleased to congratulate nine Gravel & Shea attorneys on their inclusion in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Founded in 1981, Best Lawyers began as a way to “highlight the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession,” says CEO Philip Greer.

Best Lawyers published their first guide in 1983. More than three decades letter, the guide has become recognized as one of the country’s most reliable, unbiased sources of legal referrals.

The Best Lawyers in America list divides lawyers by geographic region and practice area. They use a peer review process and authenticate all lawyers to ensure they are in current practice and in good standing.

We would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to 2021 The Best Lawyers in America list:

  • Peter S. Erly — Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, Securities/Capital Markets Law, and Securities Regulation
  • Timothy M. Eustace — Litigation – Real Estate
  • Michelle N. Farkas — Real Estate Law
  • Heather R. Hammond — Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment
  • Robert B. Hemley — Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, First Amendment Law, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • William A. Mason IV — Corporate Governance Law and Corporate Law
  • Jerome F. O’Neill — Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Robert H. Rushford — Real Estate Law

Best Lawyers also recognizes associates and other lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.

Lawyers recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch undergo a similar peer review and authentication process.

Gravel & Shea congratulates Celeste E. Laramie for her inclusion as One to Watch for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

 

 

Gravel & Shea PC May 17, 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act Makes Significant Changes to COVID-Related Paid Leave and Brings Back COBRA Subsidies

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”).  While ARPA is wide-ranging and covers a host of COVID-related needs, employers should be particularly aware of two important components.

Paid Sick Leave

 As we know, the employer paid sick and family leave obligations under FFCRA ended on December 31, 2020.  At the very end of the year, Congress passed a law that did not extend the paid leave mandates into 2021, but instead gave employers who were covered by the FFCRA the option to extend paid sick leave (“PSL”) and/or extended Family and Medical Leave Act (“EFMLA”) benefits to eligible employees who had not exhausted those benefits in 2020.  If employers continued to provide that leave on a voluntary basis, they could receive the corresponding payroll tax credit until March 31, 2021.

While many commentators believed that Congress would pass some sort of mandatory paid leave provision in the new year, ARPA did not go quite that far. Instead, it chose to continue to encourage employers to provide COVID-related paid sick leave by extending the tax credits until the end of September, 2021 and expanding the qualifying reasons for leave in the following ways:

  1. Obtaining a COVID-19 immunization;
  2. Recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to COVID-19 immunization; or
  3. Seeking or awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or diagnosis because the employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or the employer has requested the test or diagnosis.

All of the six reasons that an employee could receive PSL under the FFCRA are still qualifying events for the tax credits.  For a refresher on FFCRA-qualifying events, see: Trump Signs Families First Coronavirus Bill – Effective on April 2, 2020.

ARPA permits employers to receive a tax credit for up to 10 days of PSL per employee starting April 1, 2021, even if that employer had already taken a tax credit for those same employees prior to that date.  In other words, if an employee exhausted her ten days of PSL before March 31, 2021, an employer could still get the tax credit for an additional ten days of leave from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021.

The PSL tax credit is based on the employee’s regular rate of pay if the need for the leave is related to immunization or testing (as described above) or due to the employee’s own symptoms, quarantine or isolation, up to a cap of $511 per day (or a total of $5110 per employee).

Extended FMLA

Under FFCRA, up to twelve weeks of EFMLA was available if the employee was unable to work or telework due to the COVID-related unavailability of a child’s school or day care provider.  ARPA expands the reasons that tax credits can be obtained for providing EFMLA to include all of the reasons that PSL can be used (when an employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order, where an employee is told to self-quarantine by a health care provider, where an employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, issues related to immunization or testing, where an employee is caring for an individual who is quarantining, and where an employee’s son or daughter’s school or child care is closed).

Employers can receive a tax credit for providing up to twelve weeks of EFMLA.  The available credit per employee is still limited to two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, with a cap of $200 per day.  Importantly, the first two weeks of EFMLA no longer need to be unpaid, and therefore, the total cap has been increased from $10,000 to $12,000 per employee.

ARPA includes a non-discrimination requirement.  An employer cannot take a tax credit if it limits PSL or EFMLA benefits to highly-compensated employees, full-time employees or employees on the basis of tenure.  However, the employer can choose to provide only PSL or only EFMLA and still receive the tax credit.

We anticipate that both the Department of Labor and the IRS will issue additional guidance on these provisions in the near future, and we will keep you updated.

COBRA Subsidies

 In addition to extending and expanding the FFCRA tax credits, ARPA also provides that the federal government will pay 100% of COBRA insurance premiums from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 for employees who were terminated from their jobs or had their hours reduced so that they became ineligible for health insurance coverage during the pandemic.  Importantly, the subsidy is available to terminated employees if they became eligible for COBRA at any point during the pandemic.

Employers will be responsible for funding the subsidy and will be reimbursed through a payroll credit against quarterly taxes – similar to the credits taken for FFCRA leave.

Under ARPA, a terminated employee who is eligible for COBRA and who has not elected it by April 1, 2021 (or who elected it and then discontinued it) may elect COBRA coverage during a special enrollment period starting April 1st and ending 60 days after the COBRA notification was delivered.  Those individuals may receive the subsidy on a prospective basis.

Employers will need to be prepared to notify employees who might have had a COBRA-qualifying event in the past year and provide them with an opportunity to elect COBRA during the qualifying time period.

By May 30, 2021, employers’ COBRA notices will have to include information about the availability of the subsidy.  The Department of Labor has been directed to publish a model notice within 30 days, which should ease the administrative burden on employers.

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Please contact Heather Hammond (hhammond@gravelshea.com) at Gravel & Shea PC if you have questions or would like assistance.

 

 

 

Gravel & Shea PC March 16, 2021

FFRCA Ends, but Payroll Tax Credits Continue Employment-Related Highlights from the Omnibus and COVID-19 Relief Bill

President Trump signed the FY 2021 Omnibus and COVID-19 Relief bill (the “Act”) on Sunday, December 27, 2020.  There are several important employment-related provisions included in the Act.  Here is a summary of those provisions:

  • Payroll Tax Credit for Paid Sick Leave and Family Leave.  As we know, the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”) provided a certain amount of paid sick leave and extended family leave to employees who needed leave for certain COVID-related purposes.  Although the FFCRA expires on December 31, 2020 and the leave will no longer be required by law after that date, the Act extends the tax credit through March of 2021 for those employers who choose to provide the paid sick leave and extended family leave to their employees on a voluntary basis (if the employee has leave remaining under the limits set by the FFCRA).
  • Unemployment Insurance.  The Act provides $300 per week in increased federal unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021.  It also extends until April 5, 2021 the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) program (which provides coverage for the self-employed and others in non-traditional employment circumstances) and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“PEUC”) program (which provides additional benefits to those workers who have exhausted their regular state benefits).  The Act also increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits to 50 weeks.
  • Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave.  The Act extends the federal tax credit through December 31, 2025 for employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees.
  • Health and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts.  The Act allows employees to roll over unused amounts in their health and dependent care flexible spending accounts, from 2020 to 2021, and from 2021 to 2022.  It also allows employees to make a 2021 mid-year prospective change in contribution amounts.
  • Student Loan Repayment.  The CARES Act allowed employers to provide student loan repayment as a benefit to employees through December 31, 2020, and the Act extends this provision until December 31, 2025.  An employer may contribute up to $5,250 annually towards an employee’s student loans, which would be excluded from the employee’s income.
  • Return-To-Work Reporting Requirement.  The Act requires state to implement methods within 30 days to address situations where unemployment insurance claimants refuse to return to work or accept an offer of suitable work.  This method will require a reporting method for employers to notify the state when an individual refuses work.

We will continue to monitor federal and state laws and regulations surrounding these issues.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact your attorney at Gravel & Shea PC or Heather Hammond (hhammond@gravelshea.com).

Gravel & Shea PC January 7, 2021

Gravel & Shea Ranked Tier 1 for Burlington in US News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for 13 Practice Areas in 2021

Today, Best Lawyers® released its 2021 “Best Law Firms” rankings. Best Lawyers has created this listing in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report for 11 years. Gravel & Shea is proud to have once again been ranked Tier 1 in Burlington for 13 practice areas:

  • Appellate Practice
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Law
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • Employment Law – Management
  • First Amendment Law
  • Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Real Estate Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law

Best Lawyers reviews thousands of law firms across the country to create its annual guide. Law firms that receive tiered rankings are recognized for professional excellence and consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for ranking, a law firm must have a lawyer recognized in Best Lawyers in America.

That publication recognizes the top 5% of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Best Lawyers in America recognized 12 Gravel & Shea lawyers in 2020.

Gravel & Shea also ranked Tier 2 in Burlington for bet-the-company litigation, corporate governance law, and medical malpractice law – plaintiffs.

Gravel & Shea PC November 5, 2020